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A typical padiddle

Padiddle, alternatively spelled pediddle, perdiddle and kadiddle, also known as Popeye due to it looking like one eye is out or squinting, is a Canadian and American slang term for a vehicle with a burnt-out headlight or brake light. Fog lights do not count as a padiddle even if used as primary lights. There is no such thing as a double padiddle. It is also the name of a nighttime travel game involving spotting such vehicles.[1][2] Cars with only one illuminated tail light are called pidadle in some areas of the country.

Another version of Padiddle involves spotting a yellow car, such as a taxi or sports car and responding the same way. An optional variation involves calling out "Padunkle" upon spotting a car without headlights turned on at night, awarding the spotter double points.


The word Padiddle originated in the 1950s in suburban Westchester County, New York.[citation needed] In the post World War II era, cruising was a common teenage dating activity, which gave rise to the game. A boy making the discovery would kiss his date, a girl would punch her date on the arm. Qualifying vehicles must be visible through the windshield of the vehicle, "Padiddles" seen through a side or rear-view mirror only count for half a point. A motorcycle misidentified as a Padiddle is a foul that awards the offender's partner a double hit or kiss.


The objective is to be the first to spot a qualifying vehicle. The spotter must say "Padiddle" to earn a sighting. In some groups, the spotter must simultaneously hit the ceiling of the car, and in others, punch or kiss another passenger. The person with the highest score at the end of the trip is the winner.

In some variants the last member of the car to punch the ceiling loses one article of clothing. Following this style of play, the winner is the last person wearing clothes in the car. This is sometimes played in teams where every member of the losing team most remove an article of clothing.

Other calls for padiddle include:

Blue balls
a car with blue headlights.
Lance Armstrong
a car with only one blue headlight.
Wee woo
an ambulance without its lights on.
Party lights
Cop cars with lights on.
Car with both lights off.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Sullivan, Joanne (1 April 2008). I Don't Care If We're There Yet: The Backseat Boredom Buster. Lark Books. pp. 32–. ISBN 978-1-57990-848-5. 
  2. ^ Gladstone, Gary (December 31, 1969). "Padiddle Hunt". Loose Change Memoirs.